Wasatch Mountains, UT, Report: Crusty…Crusty…Good!

Martin Kuprianowicz | BackcountryBackcountry | Conditions ReportConditions Report

Report from Thursday, March 2, 2023 

The forecast called for sunshine this morning but it was snowing fat flakes.

I guess snow is the new sun here in Utah, where we haven’t seen it in over a week.

Finally, after a 40-inch-deep week and much wind, the Golden Orb returned later this morning.

Mystic mountains. | Photo: SnowBrains

After a 4:30 am wake up and much waiting in the parking lot for the weather to clear, by 8:30 am we were on top of Black’s Knob, a stunning 2,000′ fall line shot from the ridge to the highway.

The clouds swirled around the mountains, glowing from the morning sun, putting us in a trance.

On the ridge leading up to Mt. Superior we were above the clouds and blue skies showed themselves once again.

Welcome back.

Scoping it out. | Photo: SnowBrains

Every line in sight was more pillowy and powdery than I’ve ever seen it.

Alaska-style spine lines were in in places I’ve never seen before.

With the sun now hitting Black’s Knob, it looked good…

Mt. Superior emerges from the mist. | Photo: SnowBrains

A local man snaked us before we dropped in.

Juan went next, surfing it on his snowboard and sending long, relaxed turns down the upper section to the choke before widening them out even more on the powder apron below.

It sounded a little crusty on his board up top but then half way down I heard nothing and saw him snowboarding faster.

He radioed up and gave me the scoop: crusty up high, then amazing down lower.

Right as I was getting ready to drop, clouds snuck back around and socked me in.

I had to be patient. 

Big cornice. | Photo: SnowBrains

10 minutes passed, then 20, then 30.

I enjoyed snacks and talked to passerbys on the nearby skin track, killing time.

Finally the clouds relented and a window in the sky opened up.

After minutes of radio silence I called Juan and yelled, “dropping in five!”

I entered the dragon.

Patiently waiting for the clouds to clear. | Photo: SnowBrains

Up top I found crust. 

A little lower, more crust. 

Then I started feeling softer, better snow with decreasing crustiness before I had entered full on Powdertopia. 

The remaining two-thirds of the line skied well. 

The sun had been on it but not for too long—it skied soft and deep. 

Dropping! | Photo: SnowBrains

At the choke, my sluff caught me off balance and I fell.

I stood up, brushed myself off, and skied over to a cliff zone just to the skier’s left and down of the crux. 

I entered through a notch in the terrain and opened up a gorgeous, untouched pow shot between cliffs and trees that arched left before curving around to the right and back into the apron.

The snow was deep and I got a face shot or two. 

The rest of the apron was soft and I made happy turns all the way to the highway. 

Now the sun was out in stride. 

Good day. 

Back at the highway. | Photo: SnowBrains

We drove down feeling light and energized despite the grueling early morning wake up. 

The clouds had gone away and Little Cottonwood Canyon was radiating with light and beauty. 

The entire way home we drooled over what to ski next. 


Avalanche Forecast 

Screen shot: UAC 3/2/23


Screen shot: NOAA 3/2/23

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